“Loyalist Trails” 2019-03: January 20, 2019

In this issue:
The Lumber Town That Became The Capital of Canada
It All Started with a Powder Horn, by Stephen Davidson
The Gravesite of Colonel James De Lancey
Think Twice Before You Attend a Banquet of Loyalist Dishes
The UEL Town of Cornwall; It All Began in 1784 Right Here
UELAC Scholarship News
Reflections on American History Association Meeting AHA 2019
Borealia: Red Jim McDermott and Recycled History: The Fenian Raid on New Brunswick
JAR: Alexander Milliner, Age Ten, Enlisted September 1780
The Junto: Book Review: Slave Law and the Politics of Resistance in the Early Atlantic World
Ben Franklin’s World: The Culinary Adventures of Benjamin Franklin
Where in the World?
Region and Branch Bits
From the Twittersphere and Beyond
Last Post: Sir Conrad Swan
      + Simeon Wright
      + An Old House, Eleanor Stephenson, and a Loyalist Connection?


The Lumber Town That Became The Capital of Canada

By Roy Lewis, UE

Looking across the rapidly-expanding community of Ottawa and adjacent Gatineau, Quebec, which collectively form the National Capital Region, it is hard to image what became the capital of Canada was once a rough and tumble lumber town with streets of mud and more than its share of bars and brothels.

Now with a population of over 1.3 million, the National Capital Region is home to the country’s major federal government institutions, many high technology industries and extensive tourism attractions including numerous museums.

Long before it had a permanent population, the area served as fishing, hunting and trapping grounds and a major trading centre for First Nations people primarily because of its location at the confluence of three rivers — the Ottawa running west to east, the Rideau River flowing from the southwest and the Gatineau River flowing from the northeast.

The background of the name Ottawa is vague. For thousands of years, members of the Algonquin tribe had visited the region. They were closely related to another native tribe in the area named Odawa from which Ottawa may have evolved.

The first Europeans to visit the area were explorers Etienne Brule followed by Samuel de Champlain in the early 1600s. But it was an entrepreneur from the United States, Philemon Wright, who around 1800 established the first permanent settlement on the east side of the Ottawa River. Wrightsville or Wright’s Town was located near Chaudiere Falls, and not far from the present-day Doubletree by Hilton Hotel where the Sir Guy Carleton Branch will host the 2019 Conference of The United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada on Thursday May 30 through Sunday June 2 this year.

After constructing a lumber mill, hemp and grist mill, foundry, brewery, distillery along with shoemaker, tailor and bakery shops, Wright had spent almost all of his money. Well aware of the abundant timber available in the area, Wright saw the potential of expanding this sector of his enterprises. He organized a risky operation to float a boom (collection) of logs down the Ottawa River to Montreal and then the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City for shipment to available markets in Britain. The effort took three months but heralded the beginning of the lucrative lumber industry in the Ottawa Valley. Other lumber barons — as they became known — continued to ship sawn lumber from the region both by water and later the railroad to the United States with Ottawa once boasting one of the largest wood milling operations in the world.

Another major influence in the growth of Ottawa was the War of 1812 in which the fledgling United States tried to wrestle British North America (Canada) from Britain. During the conflict, military supplies shipped from Montreal to Kingston along the St. Lawrence River risked being seized by American forces immediately to the south. After the war, British authorities decided a safer route would be to transport supplies from Montreal to Ottawa and then along the 202-kilometre (125-mile) Rideau River system to Kingston. However, the rapid-laden Rideau was impassible to boats.

British army engineer, Lieutenant Colonel John By, was given the task of building the Rideau Canal with its 47 masonry locks, 52 dams and military blockhouses to guard the strategic waterway. The work started in 1825 with completion in 1832. Lieutenant Colonel By was also ordered to lay out streets in the settlement which served as a base for the laborers, manufacturers and commercial enterprises spurred by the work on the canal. Although unnamed, this settlement became known as Bytown and was incorporated as the City of Ottawa in January of 1855.

Meanwhile, the ruling Legislative Assembly of the then Province of Canada (now Ontario and Quebec) had been meeting in temporary capitals in various communities. Canadian politicians invited Queen Victoria to select a permanent capital and, on their advice, she named Ottawa in 1858. Selecting Ottawa was not all that surprising since it was not on or near the border of the United States which would have had the potential of being quickly overwhelmed by the Americans in a future conflict.

Once chosen as the capital, Ottawa grew even faster with construction of the original Parliament Buildings by 1866 and the community being named capital of the Dominion of Canada when the country was created the following year.

After the depletion of the forests in the region, the lumber industry went into decline. With the outbreak of the Second World War, expanded government services became the key employer in the community which has continued to this day. In the second half of the 20th century, Ottawa grew rapidly due to the quickly expanding electronics-related industries giving the region the unofficial name of ‘Silicon Valley North’.

Join fellow Loyalists and friends at UELAC Conference 2019 “The Capital Calls,” May 30 – June 2, 2019, at DoubleTree by Hilton Gatineau-Ottawa, 1170 chemin Aylmer, Gatineau, Quebec, hosted by Sir Guy Carleton Branch. See More details… including a flyer, the schedule, speakers, venue, directions and the Registration form – registration is now open.

It All Started with a Powder Horn

© Stephen Davidson, UE

In July of 1884, a loyalist descendant named Henry Belmain proudly showed a family heirloom to a reporter for The Daily Sun. The reporter had come all the way from Saint John to Scotchtown on New Brunswick’s Grand Lake to do a story about the community’s original settlers. Others had shown the reporter a 1627 deed for property in New Jersey, a bookcase made in 1758, and an army discharge paper issued in 1783.

Belmain’s family treasure was more than fragile paper or a piece of furniture — it was a hand-carved power horn that a loyalist ancestor had etched with his own hands. As the reporter hefted the horn and admired its elaborate designs, Belmain told how David Brill, his maternal grandfather, had made the horn in 1780 when he lived on a farm in New York’s Dutchess County. Whether the powder horn was used to hold gunpowder for hunting or for combat was not clarified. In fact, the reporter did not elaborate on the family’s loyalist heritage with any further details.

To discover what the Daily Sun failed to tell its readers in 1884, we will have to tap the resources of online archives, digital records of the American Revolution, and transcriptions of the era’s documents. Who was David Brill, a loyalist who so long ago had carved a powder horn?

A search of the manifests for loyalist evacuation vessels reveals that Brill left New York City on September 5, 1783 as a passenger aboard the Eagle, bound for the mouth of the St. John River. Travelling with him were the families of his father and two brothers. While the tailor Jacob Brill Senior and the shoemaker Jacob Brill Junior settled in New Brunswick, David’s older brother Joseph –also a tailor– eventually returned to the United States. All of the Brill men had at one time or another been members of Captain John Smith’s loyalist militia company.

Jacob, the patriarch of the Brill family, had immigrated to New York’s Dutchess County from Germany. He married Mary Smith and the couple had nine children. Their oldest daughter Elisabeth did not accompany the family to New Brunswick, remaining in the new United States with her husband Isaac Smith. Her sister Mary died as a single woman at twenty. Jacob Jr. and Joseph left the United States with wives and children. All of the other Brill children would one day find spouses in New Brunswick.

David Brill was only 21 when circumstances compelled him to leave New York. Among the possessions he brought aboard the Eagle was the powder horn that he had fashioned when he was just eighteen. The manifest for the Eagle records that David travelled with his wife and two children under ten. However, when the victualing records were drawn up at Fort Howe to note which loyalists had been given rations during their first year in the colony, David is shown as having no dependents. If these records are accurate, then the young loyalist survived the war only to lose those dearest to him. He would not marry again until he was 26.

The Brill families settled in the interior of New Brunswick. The Daily Sun’s reporter described the founding of the area, noting the names of John Belmain and David Sim and “a party of the brother Loyalists”. These New York families had sailed along the Jemseg River and across Grand Lake. “Their eyes wandered over the unbroken forest that lined its shores until they discovered, near Indian Point, a small clearing or opening for which they steered their little vessel and founded the settlement of Scotchtown which extends from Douglas Harbour to Indian Point, a distance of about five miles.”

David and his brother Jacob shared a land grant of 200 acres in the Maquapit Lake area, just west of Scotchtown, which they acquired in 1786 when David was 24.

At some point in time, David Brill met Lydia Pickard, a young woman two years his senior who lived further up the St. John River above Fredericton. The two were married in 1788 in the village of Sheffield.

Lydia’s parents, Moses and Jane Pickard had settled along the Keswick Ridge sometime in the 1760s. They were New England Planters, the St. John River’s first English settlers. Upon his death in 1803, Moses Pickard left his son Humphrey money; he bequeathed an island and blacksmith tools to his son John. Moses Junior (who would one day marry David Brill’s sister Eleanor) received “husbandry tools”, money and a desk. Lydia and her sisters Hannah, Elisabeth and Mary all received money.

Biographical data regarding David and Lydia’s life together has not survived as well as the powder horn that was crafted in the midst of war. When he was 33, David became the captain of a Queens County militia company. His brother Jacob had enlisted as well. No doubt his powder horn came into play in David’s role as a militia captain. Over the years, the trust that Brill’s neighbours had in him was demonstrated by the fact that he was asked to serve as an inventory evaluator for the estates of three Waterborough men and was a witness to another man’s will.

Of the Brill children, we know that a daughter of theirs married a son of John Belmain, producing Henry Belmain who would one day inherit David Brill’s powder horn. Jane Brill, another daughter, lived with the Belmain family after the death of her parents. She died unmarried in her 91st year in 1886.

A tombstone in the Scotchtown graveyard tells the remainder of the story of the man who carved a powder horn. “In memory of David Brill, a native of New York, who died Feb. 7, 1848 aged 86 years. Also Lydia his wife, June 9, 1836, Aged 78 years.”

However, the story of the Brill family is not finished. David’s siblings married loyalist refugees who had their own stories of loss and “hope restored”. One of those stories will be brought to light in the next edition of Loyalist Trails.

To secure permission to reprint this article, email Stephen Davidson.

The Gravesite of Colonel James De Lancey

One of the most famous United Empire Loyalists to have settled after the American Revolution in Nova Scotia was Colonel James De Lancey of Westchester County, New York a commander of the De Lancey Volunteers. He was known as the “Commander of the Cowboys” by the Loyalists and by the Patriots as the “Outlaw of the Bronx.”

At the end of the conflict Colonel De Lancey settled on a 640 acre land grant in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia. In 1790 he was elected to the House of Assembly to represent Annapolis Township. He was elevated to the Executive Council in 1794, a position he held until 1801 when ill health caused him to resign.

The gravestone of Colonel De Lancey is located at Tupperville, Nova Scotia. On my way back from an appointment in the Annapolis Valley today I stopped to visit the site of his grave. It includes two large gravestones, one for his wife Martha and him, and another for son William and wife Elizabeth.

Several times I have been asked how to find the location of Colonel De Lancey’s gravestone as it is not easily located beside a public road or near a church. The De Lancey Family Burying Ground is about a five minute walk through a forest and across farmland. I have prepared a video of my visit which begins beside Highway 201 at Tupperville at the sign for the path that leads to his gravestone. It can be viewed here.

…Brian McConnell, UE; President, NS Branch UELAC

Think Twice Before You Attend a Banquet of Loyalist Dishes

James Dittrick, the son of a Loyalist, describes the privations his parents underwent during their first years in the Niagara area of Canada:

“Our poor dog was killed to allay the pangs of hunger, the very idea brought on sickness to some, but other devoured the flesh quite ravenous. Dogs are very common food around the Rocky Mountains, but the people become in time habituated to the taste. We next killed a horse which lasted us a long time and proved very profitable eating; those poor animals were a serious loss to our farming appendages, but there was no help for it.”

Excerpted from Catharine Crary’s The Price of Loyalty: Tory Writings from the Revolutionary Era (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973), pp. 408-411.

The UEL Town of Cornwall; It All Began in 1784 Right Here

Our Roots: After the 8.5 year American Revolutionary War / the American War of Independence (from Great Britain) ended in September of 1783, eight consecutive Loyalist Townships were created along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River and five others along the Bay of Quinte to house some 80,000 refugees who desired to remain loyal to the British Crown and as a defence strategy against the Americans who had been invading what remained of British North America, seeking to enlarge their country.

The Royal Townships: The St. Lawrence River and Bay of Quinte townships were “royal” in that they were named after British royalty from east to west according to date of birth. At their own request, the people were originally settled in communities according to ethnicity and religion. The area that would eventually be called Lancaster Township was known as the “sunken township” or “Lake Township” (after nearby Lake St. Francis) as it was originally thought to be too wet or low-lying to be of much use. The dense forest and swamps were unexplored except by the indigenous people. The expanded list of townships was solidified in 1788, the same year that the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

Read more about the other townships and the evolution of Cornwall.

…Cornwall Community Museum

UELAC Scholarship News

Welcome to 2019! The first of a new batch of scholarship applications are in and our review committee is eagerly anticipating more. The deadline for scholarship applications is February 28. Information on the scholarship and how to apply is available here.

Each year we are impressed with the commitment and accomplishments of the graduate students we are pleased to call UE Scholars. Through the scholarship program we participate in supporting valuable research while adding new publications to our unique resource library.

In the coming weeks we will feature updates on past and current UE scholars leading up to the introduction in March of the successful 2019 recipient.

A new year begins with the promise of hope and renewal. To the members, friends, and financial supporters of the Loyalist scholarship program we thank you. Here’s to another year of opportunity to promote and preserve Loyalist history!

In the words of author Neil Gaiman, “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”

…Bonnie Schepers, Scholarship Chair

Reflections on American History Association Meeting AHA 2019

12 January 2019, by ChoChien Feng, PhD Candidate in American Colonial History (Dissertation: Cultural Roots of New York Loyalist Political Ideology)

I have three major purposes to attend this meeting. First, this year’s theme was loyalty. As a historian researching New York Loyalists, the conversations surrounding loyalty would benefit my thinking of this subject as I am writing my dissertation…

AHA president, Professor Mary Beth Norton, organized two panels on Loyalism. One talked about the state of the field of Loyalism study, and the other contained three papers demonstrating the new directions of research. Professor Norton is famous for her research on woman history from colonial America to early American republic. Her work includes Liberty’s Daughters, Founding Mothers and Fathers, In the Devil’s Snare, and Separated by Sex. Many people today forget that her first book was The British-Americans: The Loyalist Exiles in England, 1774-1789. In her presidential speech this year, she also talked about two Loyalist pamphlets to illustrate her points. Even though she turned to study the women in history after her first book, the subject of Loyalism has still been on her mind…

In the panel on the new directions of Loyalist research, there were three excellent papers dealing with women, Black Loyalists, and Loyalist honor respectively. I think these three papers did represent new trends in Loyalist study.

Read more.

Borealia: Red Jim McDermott and Recycled History: The Fenian Raid on New Brunswick

By David Wilson, 14 January 2018

NOTE: This article originated as a paper given at the Canadian Association for Irish Studies annual conference at Quebec in June 2018.

Think of this as an essay on the three sins of recycling history, reading history backwards, and misusing evidence. It concerns Jim McDermott, a Fenian firebrand from New York who enters Canadian history on St Patrick’s Day 1865, when the Hibernian Benevolent Society in Toronto invited him to speak. He was greeted with “vociferous cheers,” after which he expatiated at length on the superiority of the American over the British system of government. He received more cheers when he asserted that England held Canada “against the desire of the people,” and even louder ones when he declared that Irishmen were ready to proclaim “a free and independent Republic on the ruins of the old kingdom.” “The Fenian Brotherhood,” he continued, “were resolved to try the only experiment that had not been tried — organized revolution!” His twin messages of annexation for Canada and revolution for Ireland not only received the “unbounded applause” of his immediate audience, but were in such high demand that the Irish Canadian sold out within hours of publishing the speech. It reprinted the lecture in its entirety the following week.

But Jim McDermott enters Canadian historiography in a very different way: As the “Special Informant” who supplied the British consul in New York, Edward Archibald, with crucial information that alerted the authorities about the Fenian plans to invade Campobello Island in New Brunswick — plans that were made in a meeting in New York held by the Fenian leader John O’Mahony on March 17 1866. The Fenians left New York during the first week of April, and began arriving in Eastport Maine around April 10. By the time they were settling into Eastport, a British warship had reached Campobello Island to deter an attack, and the New Brunswick militia were waiting at the border. Over the next two weeks, the attempted raid degenerated into farce and fizzled out. McDermott’s information, the argument runs, was a key factor — and for some, the key factor — in its failure.

Read more.

JAR: Alexander Milliner, Age Ten, Enlisted September 1780

by Lindsey Wood, 17 January 2019

To create an organized and effective force the Continental Army required more than just soldiers and officers. Camp followers helped to maintain and even provide supplies, and drummers were critical for signaling routines in camp and coordinating movements. In many cases the war would become a family affair, calling on men, women, adults, and children to all participate and assist in some capacity. In a society where men were typically the breadwinners of the household, husbands and fathers leaving to fight could leave the rest of the family in a difficult position. Staying at home might mean limited means and even facing violence from passing armies and neighbors with opposing sympathies. Whether supporting one side or just trying to survive, the cost of war would be inescapable for every member of a family and for many, sticking together and collectively supporting the cause seemed the best choice. Alexander Milliner was part of one such family and so would become entrenched in the war from an early age. Known at the time by his stepfather’s surname, Maroney, he was not only among the many young drummers in the Revolution but very likely also experienced life as a camp follower alongside his mother prior to enlisting.

There is some question as to the exact year of Milliner’s birth as two sources suggest two different dates ten years apart. His own pension application places it in 1770, while a biography by Elias Brewster Hillard, based on an interview with him in 1864, claims he was born in 1760. The 1770 date is more in line with the accounts of his life in both sources.

Read more.

The Junto: Book Review: Slave Law and the Politics of Resistance in the Early Atlantic World

by Edward Rugemer

Historians have long argued that enslaved people’s resistance to bondage shaped the political economies, legal structures, and societies of the early Atlantic World. As a comparative history of slavery in Barbados, Jamaica, and South Carolina, Slave Law and the Politics of Resistance coheres around “the existential struggle between the master and the slave” that forms the core dialectic between control and resistance at the heart of slavery. Edward Rugemer places these slave societies in comparison because, as he argues, they developed out of the same legal genealogy rooted in seventeenth-century English imperial expansion but experienced the end of slavery in dramatically different ways. In just over three hundred pages, the book traces the dialectic between control and resistance in these societies “after an epic struggle of eight generations”. Rugemer’s approach combines a synthesis of a rich body of scholarship on the development of legal systems of bondage with strategic archival research. And, as the book demonstrates, the “combination of similarities and differences” between Jamaica and South Carolina yields “a novel approach to understanding the political dynamics of slave resistance and their relation to the law”.

The book begins in seventeenth-century Barbados, where English settlers first codified the status of enslaved people in 1636 and wrote extensive legislation on servitude and slavery less than thirty years later.

Read more, or a Q&A with the author, Edward Rugemer.

Ben Franklin’s World: The Culinary Adventures of Benjamin Franklin

Rae Katherine Eighmey, an award-winning food historian, author, and cook, joins us to explore the culinary tastes and habits of Benjamin Franklin and colonial British Americans with details from her book Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin: A Founding Father’s Culinary Adventures.

During our conversation, Rae addresses what historians study when they study food history; The colonial American kitchen, its tools, and ingredients; And the eating habits and culinary tastes of Benjamin Franklin.

Listen to the podcast.

Where in the World?

Where is Gov. Simcoe Branch member and past Dominion president Doug Grant?

Special note: I really don’t like using myself in these WitW pieces, and only do so when the cupboard is bare of others. It is now bare. Please help by submitting a photo. – Doug

To participate, submit a photo of yourself in UELAC promotional gear at a place of some note and tell us where it is (if you are a member of a branch, please indicate that as well). Send your submission to the editor at loyalist.trails@uelac.org.

Region and Branch Bits

From the UELAC branches, news and events of interest to others.

  • Chilliwack BC Branch of the UELAC are Celebrating the 2019 New Year with a Robbie Burns Theme meeting & lunch on Saturday 26 Jan 2019.
  • The Fort Plain Museum presents the first annual George Washington’s Birthday Symposium on Saturday, February 16, 2019 in Johnstown NY. It will feature four renowned historians/authors:
    • Edward G. Lengel, “Setting the Example: George Washington’s Military Leadership”
    • Bruce Chadwick, “George & Martha”
    • William Larry Kidder, “George Washington’s Ten Crucial Days: Trenton and Princeton”
    • Norman J. Bollen, “George Washington and the Mohawk Frontier”

From the Twittersphere and Beyond

  • 13 Jan 1775, Capt. John Barker of the 4th Regiment “walked out to Jamaica Pond, five miles from town,” and reported, “it is entirely froze over and as fine as ever was seen.” British officers would go out to skate there.
  • All Things Georgian: William Leftwich and the Ice Well. Recently, an eighteenth-century ice house or ice well has been discovered in London. The egg-shaped cavern, 9.5 metres deep and 7.5 metres wide, had been backfilled with demolition rubble after the terrace was bombed during the war, requiring three months of careful excavation before its structure could be fully revealed. It appears to have originally been constructed in the 1780s for use in connection with the brewing industry, but it was taken over by a William Leftwich, who used it as an ice well. Learn more…
  • 14 Jan 1776, Continental Army paymaster & Massachusetts speaker of the house James Warren warned Samuel Adams that not paying the troops on time while expecting them to serve has damaged the American cause
  • Today in History: Lars D.H. Hedbor @LarsDHHedbor (see his page for associated photos):
    • 19 Jan 1770 Riot known as the Battle of Golden Hill erupts when British post handbills attacking Sons of Liberty.
    • 18 Jan 1777 Congress orders signed copies of Declaration of Independence sent to the States.
    • 17 Jan 1781 Americans rout British at Cowpens, undermining idea that they could not defeat British in open battle.
    • 17 Jan 1777 Patriot forces begin moving on a British post at Ft. Independence, King’s Bridge.
    • 16 Jan 1776 Loyalists in British-occupied Boston tear down Patriots’ old North Meeting House to use for firewood.
    • 15 Jan 1777 Vermont declares independence from Britain–and New-York, remaining an independent Republic to 1791.
    • 14 Jan 1784 Congress ratifies Treaty of Paris, officially ending over 8 yrs of Revolution.
  • 15 January 1792 – A fleet of 15 ships — with Thomas Peters, a former slave, black soldier and leader (1738 -1792), with a group of Black loyalists (1196) leave Halifax for Sierra Leone. This represented over half the population of Birchtown, Nova Scotia.
  • 13 January 1814 – The Royal Acadian School opened in Halifax. Established by British officer and reformer Walter Bromley, schooling was offered for middle-income students as well as low-income women, black students and immigrants. One of its students would be Joseph Howe.
  • Townsends
  • 18th Century dress, Robe à l’Anglaise, 1780
  • 18th Century French ensemble, including a beautiful quilted petticoat, c.1760
  • 18th Century dress, Robe à la Française, 1760–70
  • 18th Century riding habit, c.1780
  • 18th Century men’s suit, 1770-1780’s
  • 18th Century uncut men’s waistcoat, silk embroidered with not so subtle symbolism of fighting cockerels – how macho! c. 1790
  • 18th Century men’s court suit and waistcoat, c.1780’s

Last Post: Sir Conrad Swan

Born: 13 May, 1924; Died: 10 January, 2019

SIR Conrad Swan, who has died aged 94, was as Garter King of Arms, the senior heraldic authority of England. In his long service to heraldry, he acted for the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965; he was also on duty for the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969, and was Gentleman Usher-in-Waiting to Pope John Paul II during the papal visit of 1982.

Unusually for an English herald, Conrad Marshall John Fisher Swan was Canadian born of a father descended from the noble Polish family of Swiecicki. On emigration to Canada in 1884, his doctor father changed the family surname to Swan. Sir Conrad was the first Canadian ever appointed to the English College of Arms.

1964 he was invited by Lester Pearson, prime minister of Canada, to advise on the establishment of a Canadian national flag, and on the creation of an honours system based on what is now the Order of Canada.

Dr Swan was a born traveller, originally destined for a lifetime career in the Indian Army. A graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, he was commissioned into the Madras Regiment, the oldest in the country. However he viewed Indian independence in 1947 as “the end of a chapter”, and took early retirement, heading back to the University of Western Ontario to take undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Developing an interest in Commonwealth affairs, he came to the UK and gained a doctorate at Cambridge.

He returned to Canada yet again in 1955, spending six years lecturing at the University of Windsor in Ontario. Thus began a lifetime of lecturing on history and heraldry at universities and institutions across every continent except Antarctica. On never making it to south polar regions, Sir Conrad remarked “The penguins haven’t invited me yet”.

Obituary: “Sir Conrad Swan, former Garter King of Arms involved in Churchill’s funeral and the investiture of the Prince of Wales

As recorded in UELAC Honours and Recognition, Sir Conrad Swan, KCVO, KGCN, PhD, LLD, FSA, Garter Principal, King of Arms Emeritus, England served as an Honorary Vice President of the UELAC for many years. Read about his many contributions to the Association and to Canada (PDF).

…Fred Hayward


Simeon Wright

Born 25 January 1726 in Northfield, Hampshire County, Massachusetts Bay, British America is an enigma wrapped inside a puzzle.

He is documented as having served as a Private, during the summer of 1748, in Captain Thomas Buckminister’s Company of the Massachusetts Bay Militia. He served for 2 months, and took part in the Fort Drummer expedition.

He was known to be in Rutland, New York (Vermont), by 1773, as he sold land to his son Simeon in that year.

From 1778 through 1779, he was a Captain if his own Company of Vermont Militia, in Colonel Gideon Warren’s Regiment. His sons Wait Wright UE, and Simeon Wright both served in that company.

In 1780, he was no longer in command, his company was led by Captain Nathaniel Blanchard (who had been an Ensign, under Captain Simeon Wright). Both of his sons continued to serve in that company.

In approximately 1782/3, his son Wait Wright joined the King’s Rangers for the last 6 months of the war.

The next mention of Simeon Wright was when his wife Sarah (widow?) filed an unsuccessful Loyalist Claim on his behalf.

As a direct descendant of both Simeon and Wait Wright, I would like to know:

1. Is there any written evidence (other than the claim filed by Sarah) that Simeon Wright ever actually joined the Loyalist cause?

2. Is there any evidence of where/when he went to Canada?

3. Is there any evidence of where/when he died? As an addendum, is there any evidence of where/when Wait Wright UE died?

…Lynton “Bill” Stewart, Alvaton, Kentucky

An Old House, Eleanor Stephenson, and a Loyalist Connection?

This Etobicoke home was hiding secrets in its basement. This family dug them up. The Star 12 Jan 2018.

The Vaccarellis like to unwind from a busy day with a good television show in the family room. They’ve been doing that for years, unaware that the creepy crawl space below the room was filled with archeological treasures from pioneer families who also lived on this same land. Those families had different options for relaxing, judging by the bits of smoking pipes and a mouth harp found in the soil.

There have always been signs that their home in North Etobicoke had a story to tell. Vito and Teresa Vaccarelli bought the farmhouse in 2001, and since then, their three children have found old pieces of pottery and rusted coins in the garden. The front of the home, with its gingerbread detailing, faced west toward Mimico Creek. It was the ideal position when this was a lonely farm in the 1870s, but when the street began to fill in with bungalows in the 1950s, the house looked backwards. The outhouse was in the front yard, as far as the new neighbours were concerned.

Based on his extensive research, he knew that Robert Coulter and his wife lived in a one-storey log cabin on this parcel of land in 1851. Later tax assessments suggested the cabin was replaced by something better, but he was never sure exactly where or when the buildings existed. The documents could only go so far. Etobicoke Township was surveyed in 1795, and this particular acreage — Lot 13 of Concession One — first appeared on the books in 1809, when the land was granted to Eleanor Stephenson, the daughter of a prominent military man who served under John Graves Simcoe.

The next year, the property changed hands and the new owner was a man who would soon be serving in the War of 1812. There were some plate fragments that reflected this early era, and many more objects that show an early occupation “by at least 1820-1830,” Vaccarelli says.

The land was granted to Eleanor Stephenson in 1809.

Read the full article.

As shown in the Loyalist Directory, there is a proven Loyalist, Francis Stephenson, who received his land grant through an Order in Council in 1806. We have one proven descendant through Col. John Butler Branch in 2004.

Was Francis the military man who served under Simcoe, Eleanor’s father? Was that service in the American Revolution? Did Francis qualify as a Loyalist?

…Mette Griffin